No. 23 Xavier is coming off a win in its biggest rivalry game of the season—a 73-66 victory against Cincinnati in the crosstown rivalry. Now, the Musketeers travel to Winston-Salem for a road game against Wake Forest on Saturday afternoon. The Demon Deacons have lost their last three games and are 5-5 on the season.
Xavier coming off rivalry winXavier had only lost one game all season heading into last weekend’s big-time meeting with Cincinnati. The Musketeers had dropped a five-point game to Florida in the championship game of the Charleston Classic near the end of November. Now, they have reeled off three wins in a row, with the latest of those bearing the most weight. Xavier re-claimed bragging rights in the series, beating the Bearcats for their ninth win in the last 13 games of the rivalry. Xavier led by 16 points in the second half and never led by fewer than seven the rest of the way.
The Musketeers are led by junior guard Naji Marshall, who scored 31 points in last weekend’s emotional win. Marshall is averaging 17.0 points per game 6.0 rebounds per game. He is also dishing out a team-high 3.7 assists per contest. However, he has been inconsistent from the 3-point line, only making 14 of 54 attempts. Junior guard Paul Scruggs is scoring 14.2 points per game. Senior forward Tyrique Jones leads the team with 9.4 rebounds per game and is also scoring 13.8 points per contest. The best outside shooter on the team is senior guard Bryce Moore, who is 12 of 33 from beyond the arc.
Wake Forest on three-game losing streakWake Forest is stumbling into Saturday’s contest. The Demon Deacons opened the year by winning five of their first seven games, with the two losses coming in road games against Boston College and Charlotte. They picked up wins against Columbia, UNC Asheville, Davidson, Charleston and Long Beach State. However, they have now lost their last three games to drop to 5-5 on the year. Two of those games were road contests—losses at then-No. 14 Arizona and Penn State. The most recent outing was a 91-82 home loss to North Carolina State last weekend. The Wolfpack shot 52 percent from the floor in the first ACC game of the season.
The Demon Deacons are led by senior guard Brandon Childress, who is scoring 16.6 points per game and leading the way with a team-high 4.8 assists per game. He has also made the most 3-points on the team, converting on 17 of 52 attempts from downtown. Junior center Olivier Sarr is leading Wake Forest with 9.5 rebounds per game. The France native is nearly averaging a double-double, scoring 13.1 points per game. Junior guard Chaundee Brown is the other scorer in double figures, adding 11.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Andrien White is the most efficient shooter, making 14 of 34 attempts from distance.